HelloFresh has announced that it will stop sourcing coconut milk from Thailand due to concerns over monkeys being used to pick up coconuts from palm trees in the farms of this country. HelloFresh is a publicly traded meal kit company based in Berlin, Germany, and whilst it is the largest meal-kit provider in the United States, it also operates in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Europe and Japan. The animal rights organisation PETA has been raising awareness about the exploitation of macaques in the Thai coconut industry, and after sending almost 100,000 emails to HelloFresh, the company told Axios, “We do not tolerate any form of animal abuse in our supply chain…Out of an abundance of caution we will not be placing orders for coconut milk from Thailand.”
Pigtailed macaques have been picking coconuts for farmers in Thailand for some 400 years as they are faster than humans doing so, but they are kept captive in poor conditions and forced to work against their will. PETA said that visited eight farms in 2019 where monkeys pick coconuts and “documented that these sensitive animals were abused and exploited.” Laura Shields, PETA’s director of corporate responsibility, said in an interview with Axios, “Now the push is to just stop sourcing from Thailand entirely and source from other places that produce coconut milk without the use of monkeys, like the Dominican Republic, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines.”
Walmart, Costco, Target and Kroger have already stopped carrying coconut milk from certain Thai suppliers known to exploit monkeys, but HelloFresh decided to stop buying coconut milk from the entire country as reports suggest that the use of monkeys is more common than previously thought. This is significant because Thailand had approximately 80% of the market share for coconut milk in the US.